Also known as Anyab, this is a movie that can start with red lips in blackness ala The Rocky Horror Picture Show and then remind you of that film with one of its leads putting on a shirt of that seminal film while he sings. But this Egyptian film is no mere cover version — it has a lot of its own strangeness to share with you.
The lead couple — the Brad and Janet if you will — battle an evil vampire (played by singer Ahmed Adaweya) who becomes an evil doctor, butcher, plumber, a tutor, cab driver, and realtor. At the end of each scene, he smiles, looks at the camera and bares his fangs. He also battles the film’s narrator and loves to host parties.
Director Mohammed Shebl may have died at the young age of 47, but he left behind a life of many careers — diplomat, film critic, Egypt’s foremost expert on The Beatles, screenwriter, talk-show host, radio DJ and director. This is but his first, a movie that liberally borrows music, themes and scenes from any number of Western films.
Yes, the music from movies and shows like The Munsters, The Pink Panther and James Bond are literally stolen and mixed into a soundtrack that combines traditional Egyptian melodies with new sounds like funk and synth. It’s staggering actually, like a swirl of influence and remixing on a scale unrealized until much later in the Western world.
Who knew that an Egyptian musical about vampires would instead be a think piece on consumerism? I’ve also never seen a movie where a dance sequence ends with a real chicken being killed and bleeding all over the floor.
Like nearly every other movie this week, this film was a massive bomb. Shebl lost most of his family’s fortune making it, but did direct three more movies: The Talisman (which features The Bangles “Walk Like An Egyptian” on its soundtrack), Nightmare and Love and Revenge…With a Meat Cleaver.
You can watch this on the Internet Archive.